Your attitude always depends on your perspective, doesn’t it. There are a number of ways one can view Andrew and Leslie’s Christmas in Komodo. If you are Leslie’s Mom, you might be a bit sad as this is the first year, ever, Leslie has been away. If you are Andrew’s Mom, you might shrug and say “I
‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the bay not a creature was stirring not even a ray. The flip flops were hung by the port hatch with care in the hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. Sonrisa’s crew were nestled snug in their beds, while visions of dragon fruits dance in the
Hello from our family! We certainly hope that this past year has been a good one for you and yours, and that the upcoming year will fill you with blessings, and improved streaming from your chosen ISP!
We are feeling a bit conflicted this holiday season. That’s because not a one of us has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. You know how we like to think of ourselves as on the cutting edge of family life. Grandma gave us all Cabbage Patch Dolls before they got so expensive, and we still have a garden made of Pet Rocks! But, in this, we are sadly behind the times. Although Pa did once tell cousin Lucille an off-color joke. It didn’t rise to an offense, though, because Lucille told him one in return that caused the rest of us to put our hands over the little ones’ ears and blush for shame. The language! Anyway, outside of that bit of embarrassment, which I am frankly glad to have confessed, life has been good to us this year.
Pa, Junior (isn’t that the cleverest name, though?) was cleared to return to playing football after the swelling in his brain went down, and he’s gone on to be the star of the team during his Senior year. He’s so excited about the game that he sort of shivers from time to time, and who can blame him? That City Championship Trophy will look pretty darned good up on the mantle, that’s for sure!
You’d think brother Josh would be jealous, but not a bit of it! He’s working really hard down at the Stash N Save, bagging folks’ stuff for them. Sometimes he carries the stuff out to their car for ’em, and once in a while, he even gets a tip! He’s learned a lot about how a successful business works, as when his boss pointed out that, as a tipped employee, he got less pay per hour than if he were, for instance, a janitor who never got tips. We’re sure he’ll put this knowledge to good use throughout his life!
Sissy is not to be undone by her big brothers. Besides designing the snow creature shown in the picture, she has been learning the best way to apply mascara, so when she gets to high school she won’t look as ridiculous as most of the girls on dance nights. We’re having a little trouble convincing her to drop her interest in electronics and physics and concentrate on more practical concerns, but after all, she’s just thirteen. She has several years yet to figure out how the world really works!
Pa may not be a sexual predator, but he’s one heck of a tinkerer. Last June he bought a 1969 Oldsmobile 442 off of our neighbor over on Claremont Avenue, and he figures that by this next June he’ll be able to use it to drive to Pa, Junior’s graduation! Maybe even let Pa, Junior use it when he takes his girlfriend out to celebrate their new adulthood! Pa says that the car just has a few “bent valves,” whatever that means, and it won’t be any trouble at all for him to fix up good as new! It actually does run right now, but the cloud of smoke it makes gets so thick that he can’t see where he’s going when he tries to drive it. I can’t wait for when we can drive it up and down Main Street, just like Grandpa and Grandma used to do back in those days.
And of course, I’ve been busy lately what with making Thanksgiving dinner for us and all of our cousins (it’s so nice to see the house full to bursting with hungry kinfolk!) And now I’m starting in on the Christmas cookies, bake-ahead pies, gingerbread for the gingerbread houses (Rex the Lab ate them all last year, so I’m putting them on top of the china cabinet this time,) and of course shopping for presents for everybody. I’m having a blast, as you can imagine, and I hope you, too, are enjoying your Holiday Season!
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka, Good Kwanzaa, Happy New Year!
Until next year,
Copyright 2017 by Steven M Fey, including the photographs, also by Steven M Fey
Dear Sonrisa, Merry Christmas, Little Lady! How are things going over there in Tonga? Everyone here is asking about you, and we are keeping tabs on your weather. No cyclones, yet, thank goodness. We also hear that Santa delivered your presents – sunbrella covers for Kitty and your life raft? I hope they fit well. We miss you, and we thought we would give you a little update on what has been going on. After mountain biking with Calamity Jane and Tang in Moab, we headed back up to Utah. We took family pictures with New Baby Niece. Thanks, Jamie Broderick Photography! Then, I flew to Spokane to meet my little sister and drive with her from college home for the holidays. The Delta Airlines Stewardess gave me two packs of Biscoff cookies! Two! You know how I love those cookies. (Remember Emily? She even has a picture of you together hanging up on her wall!) While in Spokane, a Polar Vortex arrived. At one point, it was only 3 degrees Farenheight. I was trying to keep my thin, tropical blood pumping by wearing my Dad’s puffy coat. Emily made fun of me on The Snap Chat because I looked like a burnt marshmallow with legs. We explored Gonzaga Campus and Oddgodfrey made his mark on the drawing wall. We did some Christmas shopping and went to see a movie at a theater with very comfy recliners. I do not like watching movies in comfy recliners; it is too hard not to fall asleep. Anabelle (the old Honda Accord) is having way more fun with the college kids then she did with us. She’s doing donuts in parking lots and taking road trips to Canada. She is, however, not pleased with the snow. Living her whole life in Las Vegas did not help her acclimate to her current lifestyle, at all. *Note: this is a sunroof, not a snow roof. It snowed, then the freezing temperatures hardened the snow to ice. The roads were terrifying for our twelve hour drive back to Utah. At least as scary as a moonless night watch with squalls. Emily wouldn’t let me drive, and my inner control freak was not pleased. Things got better the further south we drove, and we did survive. Once Emily and I made it home, Andrew and I made several visits to more Utah friends including a visit with one of your favorites: Mr. Elliot and his little brother, Ollie. We did Christmas projects. Finally, Christmas Eve arrived and we let the smoke out of Christmas Eve dinner. We tried to fan the smoke out of the house, but that strategy failed. In the end, we had to disconnect every smoke alarm in the house. When the dishwasher drawer sprung forth and tried to make its great escape, we knew the party was really on. *Photo credit for this moment goes to Kayla Smith. Andrew received a hooded wetsuit vest to stay toasty while scuba diving, and he was nominated the Christmas Eve Ninja. Osmond and his best friend, Radar the Teddy Bear, were reunited. Radar has been a part of our family since Christmas of 1985. Together, they watched the festivities perched in the Christmas tree. One thing led to another and Osmond ended up in a Rudolph hat. Apparently, there is more than two pirates in this family. We will bring you your set of matching jammies. It snowed like mad on Christmas Eve and in the morning we woke to a foot of freshly laid, powdery snow. Santa brought Osmond a tiki necklace to help keep him safe and sound. When Baby Niece came to visit wearing an owl outfit, Osmond was quite tickled. Santa brought Andrew a drinking horn. The drinking horn and Emily’s new set of galaxy ski under-roos paired perfectly for an impromptu manifestation of none other than OddGodfrey himself. What is a drinking horn? Well, of course it is a cow horn, hollowed out, and used as a cup from which one can drink rum. Or chocolate milk….but mostly rum. Kayla and Radar gave us all a laundry machine. (Scrubba bag and bucket – Woot Woot!) It’s hard to believe that our trip Stateside flew by and we are heading to New Zealand in one short week. Adding a trip home to visit family and friends topped off 2016, making it our best year yet! Having time to travel, explore, sail, write AND visit family and friends has been amazing. But don’t worry, we are excited to get exploring again. Our flights out are purchased and we are ready to go. Stay safe there in Tonga. Let us know if you need anything. Love, Andrew, Leslie & Osmond
The big holiday season is here, and this year it seems even odder than usual. For one thing, of course, there is the very rare convergence of Thanksgiving and Chanukah, which is sort of cool even though I’m not Jewish. I’m not Christian, either, though, but I like Christmas, so I’ll just point out for my Jewish friends that good turkey stuffing contains some bitter herbs, if you get my drift. Talk about a combo made in Yid heaven, huh? But the other unusual thing about Thanksgiving is that it is almost at the very end of November. It’s the 28th, which is only three days from the last of the month. In fact, it can not get any later, because if it tried it would be the fifth Thursday, and that doesn’t work. This has led some to suggest that Thanksgiving be permanently moved to, say, the third Thursday, so that Black Friday could be gotten underway in a more timely fashion. Uh, yeah. What’s Thanksgiving for again? Something about being grateful for what you have? Y’know, a gift given with love is a great gift, even if it isn’t what you first had in mind, and even if you didn’t go out on a frosty Thanksgiving evening to buy it by braving a crowd of determined shoppers. Geez, guys, give it a rest, will you? I live in a 24/7 town, and I would never tell anyone when they could or couldn’t sell anything, but I do wonder if those frantic shoppers have any idea why we have Thanksgiving in the first place. It’s not like we need an excuse to be gluttons, is it?
On Saturday comes the “official” start of the Christmas season, when every small town Santa will be putting on the red suit and schlepping down main street saying hello to the kids. This is an excellent thing, so far as I can tell. I think it’s great to have a season of being generous and forgiving, of parties and presents and of good cheer. The Romans thought so, too, which is why they celebrated Saturnalia over the solstice, in ways not all that different from the way we celebrate Christmas. In fact Jesus’s birthday is in the Spring sometime, but the Mass celebrating that birth was moved to coincide with Saturnalia in order to draw people away from Pagan gods. Like Saturn for example. December 25th was Mitra’s day, Mithra being a sun god that some Romans worshipped. It didn’t hurt Mithra that his day came in the middle of Saturnalia, and it hasn’t hurt Jesus any either. But as to Jesus being the reason we celebrate this time of year, well, no, it isn’t, but nice try. The fact that being generous and forgiving meshes well with “what Jesus would do” is a real bonus, though, I’ll give you that. As far as celebrating Jesus’s birthday goes, there’s no reason for a Christian not to, but one might be aware that everyone, even I, was born. That’s no big deal. Maybe there’s some other holiday you should be more concerned about? Uh, sure, maybe, right?
Personally, I’d prefer that stores start plugging Christmas maybe Thanksgiving week and no earlier. I’d also prefer that people keep in mind that there are a lot of holidays this time of year (even my Pagan friends celebrate Solstice or Yule) and that most of them urge people to be loving, generous and forgiving. Nobody is against you because they don’t call out your special holiday; zero clerks give a Pagan a “good Yule.” Â For that matter, I’ve never heard a single “Good Kwanzaa, although my not being black might have something to do with that. This is a great time of year to let go of ourselves to the extent that we accept each other’s foibles and silly religious stories (any one you don’t believe in is silly, isn’t it?) Doing so won’t kill us, but it would make the holidays a lot easier to get through, don’t you think?
Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, Ho Saturnalia, Good Mithra’s Day, Good Yule, Good Kwanzaa, and last but not least, Happy New Year 2014!